Pratt & Whitney additive manufacturing project manager Caitlin Oswald is one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business for 2015,” in a list compiled by Fast Company magazine featuring business and industry leaders well known – and some relatively obscure - from across the globe. The elite international list of scientists, fashion designers, app developers, architects and others from Nike, Evernote, IBM and Pepsico and other well-known organizations are among those that Fast Company, the oft-cited media voice for innovation in business, keeps an eye on for the latest in technology and business models that have the potential to change the world.
Oswald was recognized for her work in additive manufacturing, or "3D printing," especially as it has been applied to Pratt & Whitney's PurePower® Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) engine platform. She is credited with leading a team that incorporated additive manufacturing, specifically electron beam melting, through the development process and helping engineers approach challenges in a new way, according to the publication.
As Fast Company explained Oswald’s business leadership: “When a new fleet of Airbus regional jets take off later this year, they will feature something new under their wings: geared turbofan engines. Possibly the most sustainable jet engine ever built, the GTF will use 16 percent less fuel and significantly reduce CO2 emissions—a breakthrough that was only possible via advances in 3-D–printing technology.”
The publication indicated that “Caitlin Oswald led the team that incorporated 3-D printing into the design process, looking at each part of a jet engine to determine if it could be better developed with the new technique. As a result, engineers were able to approach challenges in a completely different way.”
"They’re able to print a part to scale and hold it in their hand," Oswald told Fast Company. "They can really understand what it looks like and what the capabilities and limitations are."
Added Oswald, a Design and Applied Technology Manager at Pratt & Whitney: “This concept of additive manufacturing is this big, scary concept out there. Some people can take it and they look at it like it's the best thing since sliced bread and they're going to use it everywhere and let's forge ahead. Then there's the other side who thinks it's too risky; it's just a fad that's never going to gain any ground. My job is in this sweet spot where I'm able to take this big, scary concept and break it out into many bite-sized chunks.”
The Fast Company top 10 include: Charles Arntzen of Arizona State University’s Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology; Rajan Anandan, Google’s Vice President and Managing Director for India and Southest Asia; Dao Nguyen, publisher of Buzzfeed; Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of ProColombia; Jens Bergensten, lead creative designer for Minecraft; and Leslie Dewan, CEO of Transatomic Power.
Oswald ranked #30 on the list, between Barbara Bush and Tracy Young. Bush, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, is co-founder and CEO of Global Health Corps. Young is co-founder of PlanGrid, which developed a software product allows a large team to share a master set of blueprints, so that each team member can add their own markings and see their changes reflected in real time.
The magazine’s awards were presented to the Most Creative People in Business recipients at a Fast Company conference in Los Angeles recently. Said Oswald of the experience: “What I really enjoyed was learning about how people use their passion for creativity to drive their goals."